ESPN's great popularity may be a double-edged sword for cable and satellite operators. While the sports network is such a ratings draw that systems operators see it as essential programming
requirement, content costs are rising, reportedly with a 73% increase in payments to the NFL for "Monday Night Football -- so how much can operators raise fees?
"Now system operators are being
forced to figure out how much subscribers are willing to pay for sports-and at what point they'll throw in the towel," writes Alex Sherman.
"If they pass on the costs to customers, they risk
more defections. If they drop the hot network, they also stand to lose subscribers."
Read the whole story at Bloomberg Businessweeks »